DAMASCUS, (PNA/Xinhua) — Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said he is ready for the Geneva II conference on Syria, stressing however that he will not negotiate with “terrorists.”
“We don’t have conditions except that we reject to negotiate with terrorists” before they lay down weapons and renounce calls for foreign intervention, Assad said in an interview with the state-run Tishreen newspaper while answering a question whether his administration has any preconditions ahead of the planned internationally-backed conference that is likely to be held in Geneva in mid-November.
“The main condition is that the solution should be a Syrian one and the dialogue is political … but if the dialogue was with weapons so why would we go to Geneva?” he remarked during the interview which was published Sunday to mark the 40th anniversary of the October War.
Stressing a firm stance, Assad said the biggest victory for Syria could be achieved by winning over the foreign-backed terrorism.
“Yes, we can achieve this victory … and the first and bigger victory today is for us to eliminate the terrorists,” he said.
“What is important is to believe in this victory … when faith exists inside all of us that we are capable of achieving victory, certainly we would achieve that victory.”
The Syrian administration refers to the armed rebels on the ground as “terrorists” especially as their ranks have become overwhelmed with al-Qaida-linked groups.
As the president made it clear that he would not negotiate with “terrorists,” the armed rebels on the ground also stated that they reject the talks with the Assad government.
Yet, according to the international consensus regarding finding a political solution to the longstanding crisis in Syria, the Geneva II conference is largely believed to be held and usher in the start of the political settlement to Syria’s crisis.